SLIM & SCULPT
Ready to follow a slim & sculpt plan right now? We’ve enlisted the help of a body transformation expert personal trainer to create a no-nonsense guide that will help you drop a dress size for the swimsuit season.
‘While getting in great shape depends on the person and their starting point, you can
expect to make a big change over the course of six to eight weeks by following these simple steps,’ says Mark.
So, forget complicated workout plans and tracking your macros – the plan below is super-easy to heed and guaranteed to be effective (we know because we’ve tried it).
Read on to make sustainable weight-loss changes that could last a lifetime.
STEP 1: Munch mindfully
“Abs are created in the kitchen” is a phrase you’ll have heard countless times before, and quite rightly so because a healthy diet has to be a part of the weight-loss equation.
Sure, exercise is essential for slimming down, but diet plays a role too, and you shouldn’t go into any transformation a plan without that in mind.
It all boils down to calories you getting in versus calories out – to lose body fat, you have to use more calories than you consume.
While you could use your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to calculate your daily calorie needs, the basic things you need to change are your eating habits – portion size, food selection, frequency of takeaways, and alcohol consumption.
Start by bringing an awareness of what you’re consuming – check the number of calories in the foods you eat and monitor how much you put on your plate.
There are simple things you can do that will make a huge difference straight away, such as purchasing low-calorie alternatives to the foods you like to consume (think lighter cheese instead of conventional cheddar, and low-calorie versions of the sauces and dressings
Minimizing alcohol consumption and the number of times you have takeaways will also help, and use your hand to measure portion size – a clenched fist equals a carbohydrate serving. In contrast, a protein size is approximately the size of your palm.
STEP 2: Picture your progress
A growing number of people document their weight-loss stories on social media, and they’re not wrong to do so, as studies show we’re more likely to stay motivated to slim down if we take photos of our progress.
The best method is to take a photo from your front, back, and sides, wearing the same clothes, using the same lighting, and choosing a good camera angle (note: angling the camera up will not be flattering).
While you might not need to ditch the scales just yet, I’d worry less about your weight measurement.
It can fluctuate with where you are in your cycle and what you had to eat the night before.
If you decide to document your weight, always measure at the same time and on the same day each week, and do it before you eat or drink anything.
So, let’s say every Friday morning when you wake up.
Body measurements can be useful – if you lose body fat, you’ll definitely get smaller around your mid-section, so measuring your waist may help you stay on track.
STEP 3: Go for the goal
We tend to overcomplicate body goals, but weight loss is not a complicated science – you must eat fewer calories and move a bit more.
That said, the exercise you do matters, and clocking a workout that doesn’t challenge you probably won’t cut it (remember, you need to burn more calories than you consume).
A common mistake is to overestimate how many calories are burned during a workout, which is why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise for weight-loss goals – it burns a bunch of calories in a relatively brief period of time.
I’d suggest doing three or four HIIT sessions a week, depending on your exercise experience.
Top that off with one session of steady-state cardiovascular exercise to
bring your weekly total to four or five workouts.
If your target is to tone up, you ultimately want to cut down your body fat percentage and build a bit more muscle mass, and the best way to achieve that is through weight training and smart eating.
I’d recommend doing three to five weighted sessions a week, plus a session of HIIT thrown in for good measure.
This is just a guide – the best number of days to work out for is the number you’ll find sustainable.
If you start by doing five workouts on week one, four workouts on week two because you’re tired, and two workouts on week three because you’re demotivated, you won’t reach your goals.
It’s far better to start by doing two workouts and then build-up
as time goes on and if other commitments allow it.